After it all-- the fighting, the storming off, a new round of fighting, the fucking-- House is bone tired. He could sink through the ground, gravity pulls so hard at his limbs. He closes his eyes, but not to sleep. It’s not that kind of exhaustion.
Amber is pacing at the windows, an indignant cat whose tail has been stepped on. The first thing she did after rolling out of bed-- after crying out as she came for the second time-- was put on her jacket and zip it up, sealing her treasures. As if she wouldn’t bring them right out again with the right prompts and put them on display like a public Christmas tree.
“Get me a cigarette,” House says.
“Get it yourself,” but she is already at his chest of drawers. He hears the half-empty packet whirl through the air before it crash-lands on his bare chest. He’s too tired to complain. He just withdraws a cigarette and looks at Amber expectantly.
“Oh, for crying--“ she does this favor too, retrieving a lighter from the same drawer. She jumps back on to the bed, and lights up his smoke. “It’s a disgusting habit.” Her tone suggests everything he does is disgusting.
He flicks his head at the cigarette, a silent offer.
“I don’t smoke,” she says even as her fingers fumble with the packet. She crosses her legs and smokes. Her hands eventually stop shaking. Ash falls onto the sheets from both their cigarettes, breaking into small grey mounds. He has to change the sheets anyway.
They smoke in silence. House mostly lets his burn on its own, occasionally taking long drags. Amber goes through hers faster, inhaling like she has a train to catch and can’t smoke onboard. She smokes a second cigarette, and a third. The air thickens to grey. “You always boast about truth this, truth that,” she says. “But you never say what you mean.”
Oh god, he’s too tired to rehash the argument that started all this. He pinches out the light on his cigarette, flicks it over his shoulder. Who knows where it lands. “I never said I don’t lie.”
“It’s more than that.” She blows smoke at him. “You never do what you mean.” House translates: you fuck me though you hate my guts. You treat ‘James’ like shit though he’s what matters most to you. You stay in the rut you despise so much.
Laying down all the blame on him, as if she has nothing to do with what happened. And she’s sincere, too. “And you don’t think what you mean.”